Harnessing continuous flow for the synthesis of complex functional molecules PhD

Entry requirements:
3 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
16 February 2018



in the UK for Chemistry

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£17m STEMLab facility



Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

The existing ‘benchmarked’ methodology for the synthesis of complex functional molecules is typically step-wise in nature and involving isolation of intermediates. This can compromise efficiency and overall chemical yields; while increasing expense and generating significant chemical waste. In contrast, Continous Flow Technology can potentially be adapted to undertake multiple chemical reactions, without isolation of any intermediates. This project will explore this approach using an affordable off-the-shelf Continous Flow system and will be demonstrated using medicinally important functional molecules as targets.

Off-the-shelf, affordable, continuous flow technology has the potential to revolutionise chemical synthesis. The traditional, step-wise approaches to complex chemical synthesis can now potentially be undertaken sequentially using this technology, therefore reducing cost, waste and importantly time. Recently, the group reported the first sequential conversion of 1,3-dienes to valuable furans using an affordable continuous flow system. This project will exploit this approach by examining the sequential formation of medicinally important compounds such as heterocycles, conformationally restricted cyclobutanes, as well as exploring the formation of challenging chemical bonds (C-CF3) using this continuous flow approach. This will be undertaken using our recently acquired Vapourtec continuous flow apparatus, and will equip the successful applicant with the requisite skill-set required in the 21st century pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, given the nature of the target molecules, the project will expose the applicant to existing concurrent projects within the school and University, such as our EPSRC AMR initiative, the on-going work in continuous flow technology and in-line reaction monitoring, and the use of computational methods in supporting and validating chemical transformations. 


Primary supervisor: Dr Marc Kimber

Secondary supervisor: Prof Andrei Malkov

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Marc Kimber or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about postgraduate research in the School of Science please visit our website.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or a related subject.

A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: chemical synthesis, medicinal chemistry.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select ‘Department of Chemistry’. Please quote reference number MK/CM/2018

Application details

Reference number:


Application deadline: 16 February 2018
Start date: 01 October 2018